Companies dispute valuation after Costain gave direction to omit works

Costain has launched a legal battle against Lorne Stewart in a row over refurbishment of a school in Kent.

Main contractor Costain engaged Lorne Stewart to carry out mechanical and engineering works at Aylesford School as part of a project to refurbish six schools in Kent, according to a High Court writ.

The dispute centres around teaching block 3, a two-storey classroom building, and Costain is asking the court for declarations that Lorne Stewart did not carry out all the subcontract works it was obliged to do.

Costain issued a direction on August 16 2007 that Lorne Stewart should omit all works to the building, with the exception of the sprinkler which was already part installed, the writ says. As a result, the subcontract sum payable to Lorne Stewart should be adjusted to reflect the works the company was no longer required to carry out, the writ claims.

But both companies are in dispute over the proper valuation of the omission, and underlying that dispute is an issue about the scope of the original subcontract works on the building, the writ says.

After giving the direction to omit the works, Costain gave details of its valuation of the change in construction cost of £379,406.64 but says that Lorne Stewart did not respond with its own estimate, in breach of the contract.

By this time, Lorne Stewart had only carried out limited sprinkler works, the writ alleges.